July 24, 2017 

From the Sixteen to One Archives


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 By Michael Miller

03/31/2005  9:34AM

Physicists Take Close Look at Gold’s Atomic Value
LA Times 7/20/95 Page B-2

All that glitters may not be gold, but gold is the most “noble” of all metals. It refuses to react with gases and liquids, which is one reason it can hang around for thousands of years in musty tombs and still shine brightly for those anthropologists (or Pirates) lucky enough to stumble upon it. But exactly what makes gold so standoffish (and hence valuable) has been something of a scientific mystery.

In the current issue of the journal Nature, two physicists from Denmark and Japan suggest that the electrons buzzing around the gold atom’s periphery overlap each other in ways that keep other atoms at a distance.

This same orbital dance allows gold atoms to hold onto each other with a grip sufficient to keep other atoms from breaking them apart.
 By Michael Miller

03/11/2005  7:23PM

A GOLDEN HIGHWAY by C.B. Glasscock, copyright, 1934

“Fortunately my car was old and experiences upon desert trails and mountain roads s well as upon city streets. It could, I felt, almost find its own way to a water hole as a dependable burro would do when its tongue or radiator began to crack with thirst. Frequently I have seen it run ten and twenty-odd miles past the point where its gasoline gauge revealed an alarming 0, while my traveling companion, secretary, cook, memory and wife, jittered silently in the corner of my right eye.
It would, I knew, climb sturdily up the steepest of mountain roads, slide cautiously on its hind quarters down dry creek beds to deserted villages, automatically dodge boys on bicycles, and pause beside old men with a potential gleam of reminiscence in faded blur eyes.
It would stop serenely upon the edge of a precipice to admire the view, or would draw gently toward a curbstone to win a smile from human beauty. It was in no great hurry. It would not stick too closely to the paved ways of speed and commerce when it wished to find its way into ghostly towns where men had worked and loved and laughed and died and helped to build a State and Nation. In short, it was precisely the sort of car in which one should go forth to find a Golden Highway of history, romance, laughter and adventure…..
The Alleghany district contains a hundred scars of the tremendous battles waged by men against mountains. It has been crisscrossed by foot trails, pack trails, freight roads and stage roads. We might ramble there for a week upon roads where we would meet only a mail carrier in a fliver or a 1933-model prospector seeking another of the innumerable gold pockets which have made this region the delight of prospectors and promoters for nearly a century.
Scores of itinerant miners throughout the years have taken ten, twenty, thirty thousand dollars in gold by their own efforts from the scattered rich deposits. A single chunk of ore has brought twenty-seven thousand dollars from the mint. Do not tell a present resident of these hills that he will not find another. They have been discovering new mines here for eighty years. Through North Columbia, North Bloomfield, Moores Flat, Pike City, Orleans Flat, Washington, Minnesota Flat and others have been great, Alleghany has been greater.
The famous Rainbow, which had its own stamp mill working in the ‘50s, once produced sixty thousand dollars in a single day. The Oriental dug seven hundred and thirty-four thousand from an area fourteen by twenty-two feet. The Tightner Mine Company has extracted more than three millions. All that started eighty years ago, but contrary to the history of most of the camps upon our golden highway, it has continued from decade to decade. As late as 1896, when William J. Bryan was first running for president, Thomas J. Bradbury located the tremendously rich Sixteen-to-One ledge fifteen hundred feet down the slope from his own back yard, within one hundred feet of the house where he had lived for twenty-five years. As late as 1912 the old Red Star produced eighty thousand dollars from a pocket of high grade.
Alleghany is also proud of its famous men. John Mackay, who was to become the richest of the bonanza kings upon the Comstock, learned his trade with pick and shovel and single-jack in the practical school of Alleghany’s shafts and tunnels. Fred Bradley, John T. Bradbury, and others famous, have worked in these mines.
Alleghany is unique in its continued complete devotion to mining—its only interest and its only source of revenue. Other old camps have supplemented their interests and revenues by cattle raising, lumbering, and other activities. Not Alleghany. It has always been a mining camp, and will continue to be that or nothing.”
 By Nose For Gold

01/25/2005  8:11PM

During 1927, William (Billy) Simkins wrote a report on the 16:1 mine for Fred Searls, geologist and later President of Newmont Mining. Simkins noted that 70% of the highgrade was found at or near the hanging wall of the vein, but it is a mistake to assume that no development should be done on the footwall. He also noted that there was a tendency to drive raises at angles which lend themselves to easy operation of the scraper (slusher) rather than close following the ore. For this reason, considerable highgrade is still present where thicker portions of the vein are present.
 By Nose For Gold

01/24/2005  11:06AM

Within the northern portion of the 16:1 mine, the North Orebody and the Yellow Jacket orebody, no relation to the Yellow Jacket mine, together produced approximately 37,800 ounces of gold. The Yellow Jacket orebody was only mined to the 1250 level, probably because the rake of the deposit causes it to cross into the Red Star mine, now owned by the 16:1. This leaves a mostly unexplored area between the 1250 and 1500 levels. During a metal detector survey in 1993, 1,000 ounces were discovered and mined from an underhand stope just below the 1500 level along the rake of the Yellow Jacket orebody.
 By Nose For Gold

01/16/2005  9:29PM

One of the more exotic exploration targets at the 16:1 mine is referred to as the lost winzes and is described in a report by C.C. Derby dated 12/9/30. While gravel mining (mining for gold in a Tertiary channel) through the Eureka tunnel in 1907 and 1911 a quartz vein was encountered at the center of the Red Star claim which produced 13,000 ounces of highgrade gold. Very dangerous conditions which included swelling ground and large amounts of water caused the area to be abandoned before all the gold could be removed. The reported production appears legitimate. Attempts to get to this area in 1919 and 1961 resulted in failure probably a result of survey errors. The 1961 attempt was under the direction of Fred Searls, geologist and former President of Newmont Mining.
 By Nose For Gold

01/10/2005  9:07AM

In 1990, the KCJV joint ventured the 16:1 mine with Billiton Minerals, Shell Oil Company. The highest priority exploration target of Billiton was at Chips Flat above the 16:1 owned Rainbow mine which historically produced +150,000 ounces of gold. There are a number of vein junctions as well as extensive carbonate alteration in this area. A logical well thought out exploration program which includes backhoe trenching would have a high probability of producing significant gold from Chips Flat.
 By Nose For Gold

01/02/2005  3:05PM

The largest pocket of gold mined from the 16:1 was from a small zone below the 800 Level between the 16:1 and Tightner Shafts and is credited with 83,200 ounces. Of this total, some 30,000 ounces were obtained from a "pipe" about 1 1/2 ft. in diameter by 40 ft. long. The remaining ounces came from a larger volume of still very rich vein. In 1940, a typical year, 8,471 ounces of gold were produced from 5,635 pounds of ore or 1 1/2 ounces per pound. (This does not include mill production) With only 1/3 of the 16:1 vein developed, potential exists for many good years of gold production.
 By Nose For Gold

12/30/2004  4:24PM

A.D. Foote was a famous mining engineer who for a time was the manager of the Tightner mine, now part of the 16:1. In a 1921 interview, Foote states that they produced 37,500 oz. of gold from a space less than 10 ft. by 10 ft. The ore was so rich they had to cut it up with chisels to get it to the mill. Under his management the Tightner produced 150,000 oz. The stopes from where this gold was recovered have been washed so clean that not even sand remains, but there is more gold in the area.
 By Nose For Gold

12/27/2004  11:45AM

During 1944, Geologist, H.R. Cooke, Jr., submitted his Ph.D. thesis titled "The Distribution of Gold in the Original Sixteen to One Vein" to Harvard University. Cooke developed Association Indices for the distribution of gold. Results of his work demonstrate that the two most important tools for finding highgrade are local knowledge and good geologic mapping. This still holds true today.
 By gfxgold

12/15/2004  9:37PM

I think the Sixteen just found a new revenue source! Dividend checks, framed and ready to hang proudly, next to that specimen of 16 to 1 gold. (Of course, they would be stamped non-negotiable). I bet Rae could sell a lot of them at the UGMM.

12/15/2004  8:51PM

Hey Rick, you framed a $25 dividend check instead of cashing it is what you wrote below Nose.

Why? I’ll pay you twenty-five dollars if we can meet at the mine office to verify your dividend authenticity, no if it meant more to you than $25 then, it may be worth more to you with age. Why is this “check” so special and does it look special? Maybe I’ll pay you $100 just to have it framed on my wall.

Same offer to you, Nose.
 By Nose For Gold

12/14/2004  12:24PM

Historically the 16:1 has had a staff of engineers and geologists from Stanford, Cal., U. of Nevada and Harvard. Best known of these individuals is Harvard trained geologist and later Director, W.P. Fuller Jr. In an August 29, 1965 letter to the President of the Company, Fuller states:" A comprehensive exploration campaign should, when finances permit, be undertaken to prospect the northern continuation of the entire vein zone. With more than 1 1/2 miles of a major vein system barely touched by mining up to now because of the deep Tertiary cover, and with geologic conditions very similar to the mile already developed by the consolidated 16:1 workings, this exists as one of the most promising areas for development of gold bearing quartz veins in the district."
 By Nose For Gold

12/13/2004  9:15PM

Johan Raadsma presented the results of his study in a report dated 11/91, metal detectors came into use in the mine in 1/92. Metal detectors are just another tool and a good one.
Dividends totaling $1,238,501 had been paid to 1924. From 1903 to 1965 the company paid dividends of $5,750,000.00 I also have my gold dividend cheque.
Gestapo type mine inspectors and government agents have been a problem as long as I can remember.
Concerning gold in the mine, 2/3 of the vein is virgin with very favorable geology, especially to the north.
 By Rick

12/13/2004  7:07PM

Regarding the 1991 situation (and I admit I've never seen nor read the Raadsma Report, so my perspective on this stands as naiive):

I'll bet back then there wasn't the same political pressure for the Sixteen to One to be reincarnated as a PC mine, bent over, grabbing the ankles because MSHA or the California Regional Water Quality "Control" Board or the CDAA saw the chance to make points with the anti-mining-pseudo-environmental-teach-it-but-ignor-the-true-facts-crowd.

In fact, I know it.

As for dividends, I have a dividend check for $25, paid to me from a very famous hard-rock gold-in-quartz-mine framed on my wall, worth more to me as a bastion of perseverence than the cash value it represented had I have stuck it in the bank.

12/13/2004  6:04PM

Hey Nose, tell me more.

If Radsma wrote his report in 1991, that was before the Sixteen to One found the importance of metal detectors. Miller has written and all the miners have talked on TV about detectors and its significance in finding gold. They want to build one for this gold deposit. How will this affect the Radsma report? Also, what other reliable history backs up the potential of making money with this company? Why do you think there is gold left that can be mined?
 By Nose For Gold

12/12/2004  1:09PM

According to a statistical study done in 1991 by Johan Raadsma, Mining Engineer and former 16:1 Mine Manager, who was born in South Africa and educated in Western Australia, at a sustained production rate of 125 tons per day / 30,000 tons per year, the company would achieve the ranks of a Tier 2, dividend paying gold producer.
Although this was only a statistical study, based on present mining costs and the favorable geology of the northern portion of the mine, the figures presented by Raadsma appear logical. This does not include the profits from the sale of waste rock.
 By Michael Miller

08/22/2004  12:46AM

Of the

MARCH 13, 1997

The last board meeting introduced new headings that we were eager to begin and showed our progress with our long-term advancements. Generally, the mine’s activities have followed closely the goals presented last time, but as might be guessed, our hopes for large high-grade pockets have come up empty so far. This is not to say that the development work has been in vain however; our active headings have exposed some encouraging geology and Mother Nature is continuously revealing surprises and forcing us to re-evaluate our interpretations. Each heading is described below in terms of advancement since the last meeting, and there are also further goals presented to take us through the next quarter.

The 26105 Raise that was started on November 10th holed through to the 2400 level at the end of January after 125 feet of progress. This Raise is now part of the main ventilation path and allows full air circulation through the 2600 level. As it advanced, we encountered what appeared to be the 16-K vein split about 50 feet up from the drift. A week after reaching the 2400 level, a new raise, the 26105-K, was started at this split by Tony Langdon and Jay Noble.
The raise is now about 120 feet up what is certainly the K. The geology of the face is encouraging, and the miners are seeing the vein begin to roll over to a more southerly dip. Because of the direction of the vein, they are not likely on the pay shoot below the 2233-K underhand, but by advancing a drift at the 2400 level into the K, we hope to find just where that shoot occurs. Rather than run a crosscut from the 24105 Raise into the footwall to intersect the K-vein, as was discussed last time, the crosscut will branch off from the 2400 level just north of the 24105 and will gradually turn into the K-vein about 30 feet north of the 26105-K.
This approach has several objectives. First, it will let the miners continue working off the 2400 level rather than transport equipment all the way down to the 2600. This will save time in moving both men and rock to and from the heading. Also, it will allow tramming along the 2400 and will reduce the cost of hoisting rock from the 2600. In support of this effort, Billy Joe has been rehabilitating the 2400 track and mucking out the drift for the past two months. He has now begun the crosscut and has encountered the K-vein. Surprisingly, the vein split is only 2 feet off the drift contrary to the 40-foot estimate from geological cross sections. This allows for a shorter drift to reach the raise and further outlines the pinch zone on the K between the 2200 and 2400. However, this drift is an exploration heading in its own right: it will continue past the raise to follow the K and discover the 2233-K ore shoot noted above.

The 2203 heading, manned by Ray Standring and Adrayan Aguirre, among others, is our “Whopper Country” program. Beginning on December 23rd, an initial winze was sunk to 50 feet and then drifting began to the north and south. The north wing acts as a slusher station and equipment storage, and the south wing extends about 35 feet toward the Whopper pay shoot. Even though we are not in the shoot yet, the surrounding geology has virtually every indicator of significant gold deposition. A new raise was started near the end of this drift that holed through to the 2200 level about 20 feet south of the original winze. A new wing has been started off this raise and is progressing south. Some visible gold was the reason for the placement of the raise and there has been subsequent gold in the small wing. Also, all the rock coming out of this heading is bound for the mill and should yield a few ounces. This drifting will soon be curtailed, but the northern wing will then be extended, possibly as far as the ’49 Winze.

Sam Griffith’s drifting on the 2600 level has continued and has gained 100 feet since mid-December. There were problems with the ground in this heading, as the 21-fault zone intersects the vein at this elevation. About 75 feet of timber sets were required for support and this reduced the footage otherwise possible. We may have encountered a vein split in the past week, and if this is the 16-K junction, it has moved down-dip from the intersection in the 26105 Raise. This discovery is important because it gives us more geological information and indicates favorable conditions for gold deposition. It also provides us with the clearest, farthest south vein junction and will allow us to better fill in the geological picture up-dip. Another 165 feet will put Sam underneath a known ore shoot on the 2400 level, one that will hopefully extend down to his drift.

The 2239 heading was started from a small spur off the 2200 level just north of the ’83 Hoist on what is likely the M-vein. It was opened up near the end January with a 40-foot raise that will be used as a manway. This raise paid off with 55 ounces of high-grade after only a few rounds, and all the rock coming out is ore. Drifting will continue so that a second raise can be started to serve as an ore chute. Once this is done, a new drift will be started above the 2200 level, connecting the two raises and following the new vein. In the last week, John Covert has continued mining here by starting the second raise and will begin the upper drift sometime next week.

Metal detecting has continued in the northern half of the mine, with 10 ounces coming out of the 1109 stope just south of the Tightner Shaft. Also, some small block mining is being done in the 1317 and 1319 stopes a little farther to the south and adjacent to the Ballroom. This was just started the week of March 3rd, so the potential is still unclear. A new M.D. program is in the works, whereby every crew will have a map section on which they will work and note gold, so the crews do not overlap so much and cover more ground more efficiently. Currently, however, the M.D. crew has been reduced to cover all our active headings.

The mill has been running almost continuously on daily shifts with a consistent ore grade of about ¼ ounce per ton. Since the last week of February, we have been running 12-hour shifts and on March 5th, we attained 14 tons per hour. Right now, our efforts have concentrated on replenishing the ore supply on the surface in order to keep the mill running until our next big pocket. One source of high-grade mill rock is our trommel program. Currently, we have one trommel running at various known ore piles around the upper levels, especially the 800, 1000, and 1100 between the 16-to-1 and Tightner Shafts. We now have a second trommel being built and have plans for a third. These machines have been averaging 4-5 ounces per day with usually two miners running them. As one ore pile is processed, the trommel is moved on to a new location. It works by sorting out ¼ inch and smaller pebbles that are then run through a sluice box to catch fine gold. The larger material is scanned with a metal detector and signals are picked out by hand. In this way, virtually the entire ore pile is sorted, inspected, and sent to either the mill or gold sales.

Our future activities will include a new small block target, the 2050-D Stope, that will be examined within a month. A new chute was installed in the 2213 and a raise will be extended through to the 2050 to accommodate this mining. Trommel work will continue, but will hopefully be reduced in favor of high-grade production that would reduce the amount of milling necessary. Respectfully, Michael M. Miller

What an interesting account to read. I enjoy my reports to the board. And now I read it years later.

07/01/2004  10:15AM

Two Ways to Look for Gold
San Francisco Chronicle September 2, 1980
By Stephen Magagnini
Gold mining on a small scale is relatively hassle-free: “Pick a river, any river, any place on that river,” advises one pan-and-dredge salesman.
But the more grandiose your golden dream, the denser the thicket of local, state and federal agencies you’ve got to penetrate, as two 20th century Argonauts, Mike and Michael Miller, have discovered.
By coincidence, these romantics, who bear the same name but are unrelated and a little wary of one another, have both invested a lot of time, sweat and money re-activating long-dormant commercial mines – Mike was jailed in the process – and both have yet to hit paydirt.
Both are 38 years old, both are fascinated by gold, both are gamblers who have done their homework, hired geologists and staked their careers and fortunes in pursuit of buried treasure.
There the similarities end.
Mike Miller, a native Californian, is secretive, cautious and shuns publicity. He lives in a free-flow log cabin he built for himself down a dirt road not far from one of his mines.
He had mixed success running restaurants and selling real estate in Santa Barbara before he “got tired of dealing with people.” In 1974 he began scouting gold properties in Sierra County’s Alleghany Mining District, five square miles that contain some of the richest gold deposits in California but have hardly been worked since World War II.
The district’s only active mine, the Oriental (a 10-man operation), has been among the largest gold producers in the United States over the past five years.
In 1975, Mike bought the Morning Glory Mine and leased the Osceola Mine. The Morning Glory, which opened in 1891, had been submerged in water for some 40 years and several of the tunnels had caved in.
But there’s a gold-bearing quartz vein anywhere from half-an-inch to a yard wide that runs through the hill at a 30-degree angle, said Mike’s partner, Tom Woodfin. The trick is to follow the vein until it leads you to the gold.
“This area here is what they call a ‘pocket area,’ which means you can be following along the vein and not find anything,” Woodfin said. “ You go in, you drill holes, you load them up with dynamite, you light the fuse at night and you go home and you never know what you’re going to find the next morning – it could be a streak of gold as thick as your finger or it could be nothing. I’ve been in a lot of old mines where I found gloves, picks, shovels… like they just didn’t come back the next day.”
Steve Rosenbaum, Mikes’ geologists, compared gold mining in the Alleghany to hunting for “a raisin in a pudding. There hasn’t been a good correlation between any element or mineral that will increase the halo (the chance of finding gold).
“Eighty percent of the gold in this district came from veins 100 feet from serpentenite is no guarantee there’s gold to follow.
Miller and Woodfin pumped out the water from the Morning Glory, reconstructed the 300-foot tunnels and built a wooden bridge over a creek so trucks could haul the rock tonnage from the mineshaft to the rest of the 40-acre property.
But in November of 1977, Mike was arrested and charged with illegally using federal timber, doing “ substantial” work without a permit, dumping material into the creek that threatened fish and plant life and causing a barrier in the waterway that prevented run-off.
He was jailed and bail was set at $1000 on the misdemeanor charges, which were advanced by the state Department of Fish and Game.
Twice, Miller was prosecuted.
The first time, the j8ury was split 10to 2 in favor of conviction, said Sierra County District Attorney Jim Dremman; the second time, Miller was acquitted. Miller has since sued Dremman, Sierra County, the Fish and Game Department and the federal government for $6 million, charging illegal trespass, abuse of process, malicious prosecution, conspiracy and violation of his civil rights.
Last September, Miller and Woodfin finally got back on track and rehabilitated the main shaft. They plan to hire a dozen men to excavate between 15and 30 feet of rock a day.
Mike won’t say exactly how much money he’s invested so far – “less than $1 million”—or predict how much gold he expects to mine. “If we could match the production of the past (two ounces of gold for each foot) I’d be very happy,” he said.
Mike doesn’t know if he’ll be able to start production before he runs out of money. The state Department of Corporations prevented him from setting up a limited partnership of small investors “in a misguided attempt to protect widows and orphans from bad gold investments,” he said. “I was going to pay dividends in gold.”
For the last six months, Miller and Woodfin have been working day and night burrowing into the mine and examining mineral samples under the microscope. “We’ve taken a lot of risks but I think they’ve been calculated,” Miller said. “We watch out for the ‘foolkiller’ – we don’t go in without our hard hats.”
Mike and his family spent one summer living in a cabin without any electricity, and recently ordered several 100-pound sacks of beans. “You can live for six months on beans,” he said. “We could run out of money and even that might not stop us…”
The other Miller, Michael, hasn’t run out of money despite bureaucrats, floods, quicksand, and most recently, a fire in the tunnel that threatened to came in his mine.
Before he started the Miller Mining Co., the flamboyant Brooklynite – who attended New York Law School at night – practiced law for a dozen years, argued cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and “was successful in the academic sense, but not the financial sense.”
Michael went west in 1975 and discovered he had the Midas touch, at least when it came to producing television shows. IN three years, he produced a series of “self-help” shows on such topics as sewing and ethnic cooking he says grossed $80 million and netted him in excess of $10 million.
“IN 1978, I started looking at the tings to do with cash and was convinced gold was the way to go,” he said.
Michael toured Calaveras County in a Roll-Royce until he settled on the 100-year-old Altaville and Calaveras Central Mines. He lives in a Bel-Air mansion, jets up and down the state in a Cessna Citation and has autographed pictures of neighbors like Shawn Cassidy, Steve Martin and Suzanne Somers hanging in his office.
Michael thrives on publicity – reporters are handed a glossy package of Miller Mining Co. reprints – because he wants to “establish a market position – I want to build this into the gold company in California.”
Without the environmental restrictions, Michael said he could have opened his mines for $2 million. But the required settling ponds, water discharge plant and environmental impact report ran the bill to $6 million -- $3 million of it Michael’s. “So they’ve upped the ante considerably,” he said. “If I had bought gold futures contracts at $180 an ounce, I could have made $10 million on a $250,000 investment, but what fun is it?
“IN August (1979) I had to gamble on two factors: One, is the gold down there, and two, will gold go up? People said I was a lunatic. It took a big set of nuts to put the money up.”
Besides the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration and the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Fish and Game Department and state air and water quality control boards, Michael had to contend with the suspicious citizens of Calaveras County. For months, the county threatened to revoke his building permit over supposed water and noise problems.
Ultimately, however, the citizenry realized that Michael, who has hired 105 persons, was doing the county – whose economy was suffering as a result of few housing starts and failing timber industry – more good than harm.
“Our independent… report indicates our operation will be responsible for 650 to 900 service and retail jobs – stores, restaurants, etc.,” Michael said. His payroll is $150,000 a month and each dollar generates $7 worth of business in the county.
Oliver Garcia, mayor of Angels Camp, remarked, “everybody wants it (the mine) as long as you don’t put it in their backyard. We like to see people gainfully employed. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.”
Once Michael had extricated himself from the bureaucratic quicksand, he ran into the real thing.
After his miners, averaging 10 feet a day, had bored about 489 feet into the Altaville Mine, they found themselves below the waterline. First there were floods and then there was quicksand.
“At one point I fell in up to my wais t and they had to pull me out with a tractor,” Michael said.
Then one August afternoon, when Michael was within tasting distance of the ancient river channel’s bedrock with its fabled “paystreak,” disaster struck.
Sparks from a cutting torch ignited the bales of straw used to fill up voids in the walls about 550 feet into the tunnel. Underground fires are extremely dangerous and difficult to put out; in 1922, 47 miners lost their lives in a fire that caved in the Argonaut Mine in Jackson.
Fifteen minutes after the fire started, 14,000 gallons of water were dumped down a drill hole above the fire. That didn’t work. The next day, 20 tons of liquid carbon dioxide were poured into the tunnel. That didn’t do it. Neither did 55-gallon drums of foam with an expansion ration of 100 to 1.
Benny Licari, Michaels 28-year-old project manager, said there was enough oxygen in the bale hay to keep it burning for months.
After more than a week of frustration, Michael’s miners poured a bulkhead of cement on either side of the fire, than plugged the smoldering area with 25,000 cubic yards of grout.
The next sep will be to drill through the cement.
No one was hurt in the fire, but production has been delayed by at least a month. “It don’t take a mathematical genius to say it’s (cost us) over $250,000,” Licari said.
Before the fire, Licari said “We hit a little pocket of it (gold). We took about a 40-pound sample and recovered a nugget a twelfth of an inch in diameter.”
Norm Brown, a Sacramento engineer who earns $400 a day as a mining consultant, said Miller “really is a pioneer. Michael’s got a lot of guts. There will be more like him. He only has to bring out 12 ounces of gold per day to cover his costs.”
Michael expects to do a lot better than that. His miners, using diesel-powered buggies, will be able to remove 1000 tons of ore a day – each ton yielding a quarter-ounce of gold, for the nine-year life of the mine, Michael said.
Since his existing sand and gravel operation already covers about 60 percent of his costs, he stands to clear bout $200,000 a day – if the paystreak is there.
“I have no doubt it’s there,” Michael said. “Between you and me, it’s an absolute sure thing.”
 By Michael Miller

03/03/2004  11:25AM

The following reminiscences of Noble were written in 1925. These stories are some of my favorites, which I never tire of rereading. The company owns the Hanley, Graves and Noble claim, which comer Lafayette Ridge and Chips Flat. We know where the upper tunnels are located and have prospected the open areas.
Compiled by M. Miller.

Reminiscences of H.H. Noble
From 1877 to 1883 the stock brokerage business declined so that for many months it was difficult to make even the expense of the office.
I was interested in a number of mines and among them the Rainbow mine, near Alleghany, Sierra County, and as its history is rather remarkable, I will relate it.
It was some time in the ‘50’s that a company of miners was running a bedrock tunnel to drain the gravel deposit in an old channel at Chipps Flat, which lies just across Kanaka Creek from Alleghany. When the tunnel was in, immediately under the channel, they struck a very rich quartz vein from which they took out about $300,000.00 in free gold and a large amount of arsenical sulphurets that were then supposed to be of little value, in fact there was a large piece of over 30 lbs. that lay at the door of an old cabin for twenty years, until one day a metallurgist came along and in burning a piece on a blacksmith’s forge, he showed the owner that it contained more than $2.00 per lb. in gold.
This had the effect of reviving interest in the old mine.
After working out the ore above the tunnel level, they got to quarreling over the division of the money and future working of the mine and finally, after many years of litigation and the death of the original owners, Mr. W.E. Hanley and his son-in-law, J.O. Groves, acquired title to it and incorporated under the name of the Rainbow Gold Mining Company, which I believe was in 1878.
A number of us took stock in the Company and assessed ourselves to equip and sink a shaft and drift for the ledge, about 90 ft. below the old workings. This we did in 1879 and got to the point where we believed we would find the ledge.
It was late in the fall and there came a heavy storm that prevented us from getting in our winter’s supplies and wood to run the hoist and pump. Therefore, we took out pump and allowed the drift and shaft to fill with water.
We had spent over $35,000 and most of the stockholders got cold feet and abandoned it for good, but I had great confidence in the truth of what had been told me of the history of the mine, so I bought out one or two of the weak-kneed stockholders.
The next spring, (1880) the rest of us assessed ourselves to pump out the shaft and drift and continue the search for the ledge and on the very next day, after commencing work in the face of the drift, we struck the ledge and took out nearly $40,000 in free gold.
In this lot was one piece about 2 ½ ft. long by 1 ft. in diameter and at a little distance it resembled a sleeping child and was named “the baby”, and I believe produced about $9,000.
We bought the Twenty-one Mine and the water rights for $5,000 and later sold it for $25,000.
We then erected a 10 stamp mill on Kanaka Creek and then connected the hoisting works with the mill with an aerial tramway and I believe it was either the first or second one that was ever erected. It was erected by A.S. Hallidee, the inventor of the cable street railroads in San Francisco,
In passing through Nevada City on one of my trips to the mine during the construction of the mill, an old man by the name of Pelton called on me and asked me to go with him to the foundry and see a new water wheel he had invented. I immediately saw its advantage over the old style and gave him an order for a wheel for our mill. It was the first Pelton water wheel that was ever used and today they are used all over the world.
We continued to take out ore above the drift and some of it was very rich and Mr. Groves was convinced that much of it was being stolen and many years after, we found tons of tailings in an old cellar at Chipps Flat that had been pounded up in a hand mortar.
After the mill was completed and running smoothly we concluded to run through the rich ore we had saved and ran the mill for four hours and thirty-three minutes. We cleaned up the mill retort and melted the gold, which weighed 149 lbs., -exactly my weight at the time.
We worked the pay shoot up to the old workings and were troubled with a great deal of water and when we commenced to work below the drift, the flow was so great that our pump could not handle it. We then concluded to run a tunnel from the side hill to connect with the bottom of the shaft. This is now known as the Groves Tunnel, - some 700 ft. from the shaft out.
This had to be done by hand and was very slow and expensive, but when completed of course drained that drift and the upper workings and enabled us to work below that level and when we were down 14 ft. we struck some exceedingly rich ore and between 6’clock one night and 6 o’clock the next night we took out $98,000. Pretty good for twenty-four hours.
We continued working to a depth of 70 ft, when we struck an underground flow of water that drove us out of the winze. I had gone down just after the blast and flooding of the bottom of the drift. I was anxious to know what the blast had thrown out and reached down to get a piece of the ore, which I could only do by going under water all but my head. I got the sample that you have all seen and can testify to its richness. (That piece of ore was loaned to the State Mining Bureau).
Just before this time we had shipped two lots of ore to Thomas Price & Son. See his certificate stating that 1962 lbs. of ore produced $116,662.28.
During this time I had increased my holdings to a little over two-thirds of the stock; Messrs. Hanley and Groves had the balance.
And now comes the other side of the picture. We found we could not drain the mine without installing powerful machinery and pump that would be very expensive. Therefore concluded to run a tunnel from our mill on Kanaka Creek to the ledge, about 2500 ft., which was quite an undertaking in those days, as we had to install a compressor, pipe line, power drills, etc. We were nearly two years at this work and when we got to the ledge we found it barren and then the only thing for us to do was to upraise the old workings.
In the meantime my business had dwindled to almost nothing, owing to the exhausting of the Comstock Mines and I decided to close my office and go to the mine and make the upraise, where it seemed almost sure we would find pay ore and I could soon recover my fortune. I think it was early in July 1884 that I left for the mine. Messrs. Hanley and Groves joined me and we hired men enough to work two 9 hour shifts, - I agreeing to work on each shift, which I did for over a year; in the up raise in the dayshift and running the compressor on the night shift, which was rather an easy job as I could sit with my hand on the lever and doze comfortably but with the slightest change of speed or rhythm of smooth running, I was as wide awake as I am at this moment.
The men used to joke me by saying that I turned on the water, set my alarm clock and went to bed. At breakfast the last day of the year, one of them said, - “Just to prove that you don’t go to bed, wake us up at midnight and wish us a Happy New Year.” The bunkhouse was just across the road from the compressor room and had bunks two high on the three sides of the room, with more upstairs, with a large stove in the center. There was a large steam whistle in our storeroom that had formerly been used in our hoisting works and when blown, was heard for miles distant. None of the others knew of our still having this. So after they had all retired I got the whistle out, connected it to the compressor with a long length of hose and placed it on the top of the stove; then got up 110 lbs. pressure and at 12 o’clock turned her loose. There was about 3 ft. of snow on the ground at that time and out they came, - the most frightened lot of men you can imagine.
I shut off the air and went out and wished them all a Happy New Year. One old fellow said, “Well Noble, I really believe you are awake.”
When I left home I took with me one of our dogs, Juno. She was a large and beautiful St. Bernard. We went by train to Nevada City, then by stage to Moores Flat, about 20 miles, and from there we walked to the mine, --8 miles. After a few days I missed her and the following day she returned, hungry, footsore, and just able to crawl. Later I learned that she had returned to Nevada City and boarded the outbound train and as she did not have her ticket she was put off the train and returned to us. She evidently got homesick and went back as far as she knew the way.
On the 15th of August I said to the men, - “Tomorrow will be my birthday and of course I will expect a present from you all.” When I came out of the tunnel the next day Juno met me and almost forced me to go with her to a secluded place in the mill, where I found ten beautiful puppies. Quite a birthday present!
Late one night in January I received a telegram that Mother was sick and for me to come home at once. It was storming at the time and during the night over 2 ft. of snow fell. Notwithstanding, I started at daylight for Moores Flat, with a good pair of skis and plenty of lunch. It was impossible to follow the trail so I followed the line of least resistance to our old hoisting works and then to the summit of the ledge and then down to the Middle Yuba and there found that the bridge had been carried away by the high water.
I selected the least turbulent place, undressed in the snow, wrapped my clothes in my rubber coat, tied them to the curved end of the ski then plunged in, pushing the ski ahead of me and swimming to a point about 200 yards down stream. This proved a wise thing to do as the current was so strong that I could not have made it had I attempted to swim anywhere near straight across and below the point there was no place to land on account of the boulders and precipitous banks. No one can fully appreciate the difficulties I had who has never seen mountain streams after a storm.
After landing I was soon dressed and on my way up the mountain, but not at a very rapid gait as it seemed I was like the frog that jumped out of the well, -going ahead one yard and falling back two, or was it the other way? Anyway the effort was so great that I was soon warm and arrived at Moores Flat just before dark. That was a long day’s journey.
The upraise was a two compartment; one for a man way, the other for an ore chute. As the ledge was perfectly barren and when we were near the old workings, we commenced to get a little discouraged, especially as we had to climb nearly 470 ft. from the tunnel, (the height of the upraise when completed) and pack the drills, timbers, etc.
Meanwhile the tunnel and upraise had drained the upper workings so we could get to the place where we had been driven out by water and found the rich ore we expected and took out about $5,000 and then discovered that was the bottom of the pay shoot and had we been able to sink 5 ft. deeper we would have abandoned the mine and never run the tunnel, as there was a distinct fault in the vein.
You can imagine our disappointment and after running a number of drifts and not finding even a color of gold, we shut the mine down and as there was a revival in the stock brokerage business, I came back to the City and opened up my office again. This was in 1885 and I did a fairly good business until 1890.
I had kept some men at work in the Rainbow prospecting. In January 1891, I went up again myself and worked there for about six months and at all times I had at least one man working for over 16 years and finally I found the ledge and took out about $20,000. At least that was what I received down here. Messrs. Hanley and Groves had died many years before, also a trusted superintendent and as I was informed that the one I had in charge was buying valuable really estate back in Canada and my time was so occupied, I concluded to close the mine down and soon after sold it for $65,000.
The End
There is more to the story. The first Pelton wheel is still located where it was originally installed. Its significance qualifies it as a candidate for National Historic recognition. Parts of Hallidee’s aerial tramway still exist above the Rainbow portal. His design was the precursor to the construction of the aerial ski lifts found throughout the World.
 By Michael Miller

02/25/2004  4:16PM

From the Sixteen to One Archives
Our company files contain letters and reports that many of you will enjoy. They should add to your sense of mining and living in the gold country. The following compilation from “Men and Miners of Nevada County and Adjacent Territory” may tickle your fancy. The awesome historical values of the Sierra Nevada gold belt are as rich and deep as our valuable veins.
The author, Arthur B. Foote with George Starr collaborating, wrote the report in 1936. Foote was born in New Almaden, California in 1877. He was awarded a B. S. degree in civil engineering at M.I.T. in 1899. He died in Grass Valley in 1964.
At my first directors’ meeting in 1977, we completed merging the Tightner Corporation into Original Sixteen to One Mine. During my proxy fight, which began in 1976, I met all of the Tightner shareholders. They never agreed to the exchange of shares with the Sixteen to One. What a lesson in tenacity they were! They believed the Red Star, which the Tightner owned, held the greatest concentrations of gold in Alleghany. Each one gave me his proxy to vote against Original Sixteen to One Mine’s management. They all believed they were cheated out of their mine through the Compromise Raise, which Foote calls “the boundary raise.” Enjoy a rare moment of history, as I have.
Michael Miller

When Mines Are Flooded
For a mine to be flooded so that its pumps are under water is a major disaster, and may cause a shut down lasting many months. New pumps must be obtained, and, in those days you could not get a pump that would go in a 5-foot by 5-foot shaft capable of lifting a large volume of water 1500 feet on short notice. The winter of 1907 had been wet, so that there was already a large flow of water when it started to rain on March 6 and continued steadily and sometimes very hard to March 26, ending up with snow. Toward the last, the electric power kept going off and on the 22nd was off for 13 hours. The pumps at the upper end of the North Star shaft could not begin to take care of the water, and it was running down to the bottom of the mine. The air pumps at the bottom of Central Shaft were started again and what other air pumps that were available.
All drilling was stopped and men put to work building dams across the drifts to hold back the water. Steam was got up and used for hoisting water to save compressed air for the pumps. Then things began to happen. First, the water falling down the 1600-foot vertical shaft, from the baling tanks, reversed the draft so that the fumes from the heaters filled the pump station. Then the S.P. Bridge went out, and we could not get fuel oil. We burned mining timbers under the boilers, but could not do that in the heaters for the pumps, so put a pipe down the shaft and turned steam into the heaters; the pipe was put in, in a hurry without expansion joints, and the heat of the steam buckled it out into the shaft so the cage would not go through. Finally, when we did get fuel oil, it could not see a lighted candle two feet away. The pump men went around with a hose blowing air in their faces. But the water was held below the pump station, and there has never been such a flood as that since.
Profits in Tightner Shares
The latter part of 1911, J.M. O’Brien of San Francisco got A. D. Foote interested in the purchase of the Tightner mine, in Alleghany, from H. L. Johnson. A company was formed with 100 shares of stock, with A.D. Foote as president, and 35 stockholders, most of them were Nevada County men. The list of stockholders contains quite a number of the names already mentioned in this narrative. Each share of stock was to be assessed $50.00 a month to pay the expense developing the mine. Abe Hall was superintendent. I find that I did not keep my personal accounts very carefully in those days, but I think the final result of that enterprise is about as follows: Assessments were paid for five months, making $250.00 per share as the total investment. Then the mine began making a profit and dividends were declared soon after. The 25 percent royalty paid to Johnson took care of all payments for the mine and mill. Dividends amounting to $2,270.00 per share were declared, and then the mine was sold to a company headed by Fred Searles for $300,000, amounting to $3,000 a share more.
A new ten stamp mill, designed by Foote with solid cast iron battery posts, was erected. Taylor’s Foundry built the mill. In 1912, 10,000 tons were crushed, of which one half averaged about $2.00 a ton. This was quartz taken out searching for the high grade. The month of February 1913, there were 990 tons crushed that averaged $86.68 a ton, and the 15,000 tons crushed that year averaged $37.48. In three years, the mine produced about $1,000,000, and not much more than that before it was sold.
16 To 1 Bonanza
The common boundary between the Tightner and 16-to-1 was rather indefinite, and it was necessary to define it before the property could be sold. The line passed through a part of the vein that was considered to be barren, and therefore not very important. After and agreement made by the two companies, a raise (called the boundary raise) was put up on the line agreed upon and produced little ore of value. Later on, the 16-to-1 discovered within 60 feet of that line, probably one of the richest small bodies of ore ever found. William Simkins, who was making a geological survey of the mine, was responsible for the finding of that bonanza. If that boundary line had been 120 feet further south, two million dollars would have been taken out by the Tightner instead of by the 16-to-1.
When Fred Searles had charge of the Tightner, with A. F. Duggleby as superintendent, it produced a good profit, but nothing spectacular, and it was then sold to the 16-to-1.
Foote Road
When Foote was president of the Tightner, he built the Foote road, to make it more accessible. There have been accounts written about that, so I will not go into it any further, except to give what credit belongs to George Scarfe, Jr. He was on the job all the time supervising practically all of that job, re-located the road as far as possible to make it less expensive, and devised the means of doing the best job for the least money.
I will relate in aftermath of the Tightener episode that happened in 1931. I received a registered letter with return address of A. Man, Sacramento. When I opened the letter there were $2700.00 in bills and the following note: “The enclosed is money borrowed from the Tightener mine in the years 1914 to 1915 now entrusted to you as a stockholder at that time, to divide among you and the rest of the stockholders of those years and it is the hope that none of this will bring the misery it has brought to me. A. Mistake.”
Praise For Early Prospectors
This gives me an opportunity for paying my respects to the early prospectors of this region. In all the years that I have been here I have never seen or heard of a vein that outcropped being discovered that was not already known, or showed signs of having been investigated by one of the early prospectors. Did any of you hunters or fishermen ever go anywhere that you did not see some indication that a prospector had been there before you? There are thousands of quartz veins, but it is a safe bet that every one has been prospected, and when you see a nice looking outcrop, it is a waste of time and money to sample it, because some one has done it before. Think of all the work and hardship it took to do the job! There is a lot of talk nowadays about the government being the rightful owner of the natural resources, but does anyone believe that these early prospectors would have worked the way they did if they had not known that the gold mine would belong to them, and not to the government, when they found it?
Crash of 1929 And Its Effects
When the crash came in “1929,” prices dropped, and there were almost no market for anything except gold, a new interest was aroused in both placer and hydraulic mining. Most of the Placer mining was done by snipers with a very small reward. The principle hydraulic mines that I can think of that started up were those at You Bet, the Remington Hill, the Relief Hill, the Omega, and the one at Smartsville. New interest was also shown in quartz mining and many old mines were re-opened and new prospects investigated. Then when the price of gold was advanced to $35.00 per ounce, it encouraged still more capital to come into the district until now there are something over 3,000 miners at work. I think there were almost as many men at work back in 1912 or 1914 as there are now, but the payroll now is over 70 percent greater for the same number of men. This, of course, has stimulated business in the district much more than the smaller payroll would have done and that accounts partly for the great increase in population.
I have mentioned a good many names of men who started in this district and went on to other parts. I think some mention should be made of those who stayed at home. Thomas Marshall, I believe started working at the North Star some time in the ‘80’s as assayer and accountant and he did all the melting and shipping of the bullion at that time. He continued in that position, as the company grew larger and more prosperous until 1929. Toward the latter part of this time, he had too much to do to attend to the assaying and meting, but I cannot even remember the time when he failed to take the cleanup into town for shipment, altogether, he must have taken over thirty million dollars to town. I drove him in myself all the time that I was connected with the company. For many years, the company paid out one half million or more a year, and there was not ten cents of that amount that Mr. Marshall did not account for.
Better Class of Miners Here
I would like to mention a lot of the old miners, mill men and mechanics that have worked faithfully and steadily in the mines for thirty years or more, but there are too many of them to mention in so short an article. If I began I would not know when to stop. It is admitted by every one who is in a position to know that there is a better class of miners in this district than in any other mining camp in the world.
Before closing, I cannot refrain from pointing to a moral. In the early days, I think my readers will agree, men worked harder, worked longer hours and for less money, and many luxuries and pleasures that we now enjoy could not have been bought for money. As a result of inventive genius and the improvement of machines, the production per man increased enormously and the miners got the largest share of that extra production. It is being argued now that machines are putting people out of employment. It is certain if machinery had not been improved, the mines of this district would have been forced to close years ago. It is claimed that the rich are getting richer and the poor, poorer. Since 1884 the North Star Company has produced $30,900,740. All but $6,000,000 of that was paid back to the employees and, except for what was paid for machinery, etc., in other places it was all spent in California.
Capital Always Needed
The prospectors know when they have found a mine that they cannot develop it themselves—they have to have capital from outside. That capital must come from people who have saved up money and wish to invest it and make a profit. It seems to me that $25,000,000 paid out is worth the $6,000,000 profit that the people who supplied the capital received.

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